A report in one of the dailies suggesting that Islamic banking contributed to the collapse of Chase Bank is based on unfounded information. The facts as emphasised by Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge are clear; that the underlying reason for the closure of the bank was under-reported insider lending by the directors and irresponsible use of social media, which accelerated the massive liquidity problems. Chase Bank is not the first bank to collapse and several others, which had no dealing with Islamic banking, have gone under. It is therefore insensitive to blame the collapse of Chase Bank on the Islamic banking system, which has proved to be an alternative and viable finance system.
Kenya is reviewing all laws and regulations governing its nascent Islamic finance industry to aid the issuance of a debut Islamic law-compliant bond, its attorney general said. The East African nation, which issued its first Eurobond in 2014, wants to expand the range of financing available for infrastructure projects like roads and power plants. The Treasury has said it is looking at the possibility of issuing the sukuk in the 2016/17 fiscal year, starting in July, but it has not offered details. Githu Muigai the review of that entire regulatory framework will be completed in a maximum of nine months. Kenya's central bank licensed two shariah-compliant banks in 2007. At least one firm has since started to offer Shariah-compliant insurance products.
Kenya is preparing to allow the use of Islamic finance, and is even preparing to launch its first sukuk. Speaking at the International Islamic Finance conference of Africa in Nairobi on Monday, Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said that the Kenyan government would adopt legislation that would make Islamic finance possible. The conference is intended to aid developing countries in Africa to tap into the $2.1 trillion market of Islamic finance, using it as a catalyst of economic growth. Kenya can learn about the application of Islamic finance by taking advice from Muslim countries, Rotich said. Policymakers’ business leaders and government officials spent Monday and Tuesday speaking on how Islamic financial principles can help combat poverty and alleviate poverty in Africa.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is hosting two leaders of Africa’s Ieading economies, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt. These visits are to be viewed within the prism of Uhuru’s broader strategy of economic, trade, and cross-cultural bridgebuilding. They underline his growing clout not just in trade and commerce, but also in the cut-throat arena of global geopolitics and nuanced national interests. The booming African Islamic economy provides an opportune vehicle to ameliorate the deprived conditions and lack of economic opportunity. It is a perfect fit for our infrastructure financing needs. Uhuru signed three agreements and four MoUs to promote trade between Kenya and Nigeria in June 2014 – on Trade and Agricultural cooperation, immigration and drug trafficking. A Joint Business Council was formed.
Speakers at a conference have urged the financial institutions and civil society to play their role by supporting an inclusive financial sector policy framework for equal access to financial services.
The workshop, which was attended by the scholars of Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Sudan and US, is focused on bringing forth recommendations that will help in devising sustainable strategy for development of inclusive finance.
The two-day moot is jointly organised by International Institute for Islamic Economics of IIUI in collaboration with Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Islamic International University Islamabad President Dr Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh stressed on the Muslim economic researchers to work for devising strategies for an interest-free transparent economic system. He was of the view that financial issues be observed in the light of Islamic teachings. The IIUI president hoped that conference would bring beneficial and significant recommendations pertaining to the financial and economic issues.
Kenya is set to host the first East Africa Islamic Finance Summit (EIAFS2015) that will be held on December 14th at Nairobi’s Villa Rosa Kempinski. The Cabinet Secretary for Treasury Henry Rotich will give a presentation on Kenya’s role in developing East Africa as an Islamic Finance investment destination. The summit themed “Unveiling opportunities”, aims to initiate dialogue, build network between East Africa’s financial institutions, policy makers and the Islamic Finance institutions in the region and the Middle East. Experts in Islamic Finance will discuss the development of Islamic Finance in East Africa, explore infrastructure projects in the region and discuss alternative opportunities for project and trade finance for both public and private sector projects.
Africa's strong demand for Islamic financial services and products was highlighted in the inaugural Africa Finance Forum 2015 held in Abidjan. Recent developments have seen African governments focusing more on creating a more enabling environment for sukuk issuances. Those that have not tapped into the sector have expressed keen interest in the market for infrastructure financing with legal frameworks underway to promote sukuk issuances. Although the Islamic financial services industry in Africa is currently dominated by the banking and sukuk segments, growth potential remains in the asset management and Islamic insurance. However, financial inclusion still remains the greatest challenge.
Kenya's regulator has introduced new takaful rules which will allow the entry of conventional players into the sector. The rules will come into effect in June with firms required to adhere to the requirements by December, according to a document from Kenya's Insurance Regulatory Authority. This would see Kenya join the countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia in allowing takaful windows. Kenya's first full-fledged takaful firm was launched in 2011, Takaful Insurance of Africa. Islamic lender First Community Bank also operates a takaful scheme while Kenya Reinsurance Corp has developed a sharia-compliant reinsurance product of its own.
Kenya's regulator has introduced new takaful rules which will allow the entry of conventional players into the sector. The rules will come into effect in June with firms required to adhere to the requirements by December, according to a document from Kenya's Insurance Regulatory Authority. This would see Kenya allowing takaful windows, which enable firms to offer sharia-compliant and conventional products side by side. The rules require separate financial reporting requirements for takaful windows from their parent firm, and their operating model must be approved by a board of religious scholars. Operators must also maintain separate takaful funds for their general and life businesses.
The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group has launched its Islamic banking unit as it seeks to tap into the growing demand for Islamic financial products across the East African region. The launch paves the way for the full roll-out of Shari’ah-compliant products under the proposition dubbed ‘KCB Sahl Banking’, after KCB received all the necessary regulatory approvals. In addition to the Kenyan operation, KCB Bank Tanzania is offering Islamic Banking services supported by the regulatory framework that is in place. For a start, KCB will roll out the Islamic Banking products in six of its branches as ahead of a national roll-out.
Kenya Commercials Bank (KCB) Group has launched its Islamic Banking unit as it seeks to tap into the growing demand for Islamic financial products across the East African region. KCB Group Chairman Ngeny Biwott said the move is aimed at tapping investments in the Islamic financial sector to help spur capital flows. Biwott said the launch is part of the Bank’s long term vision to diversify its product offering while riding on technology as it reaches out to more citizens across the East African region and beyond who feel left out by the conventional banking system. In addition to the Kenyan operation, KCB Bank Tanzania is offering Islamic Banking services which is well supported with the regulatory framework that is in place.
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is set open operations in Kenya, in what could be the start for Gulf-based lenders scouting for growth outside their home markets. The Emirate's largest Sharia-compliant lender has started head-hunting top managers for its Nairobi unit. DIB Kenya said it is obtaining a banking licence from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). DIB Kenya Ltd has been issued with an approval-in principle- to operate pending completion of the licensing process. The lender is seeking qualified persons in multi-nationals and local banks in Kenya to fill some 36 top and middle level positions within the bank.
Dr Haron Sirima is likely to be appointed the new Central Bank of Kenya Governor following the expiry of Prof Njuguna Ndungu’s term on Tuesday. Sirima, whom analysts gave a nod ahead of fellow nominees, is currently the Deputy to Ndungu who has been at the helm for eight eventful years. Geoffrey Mwau, Economic Affairs Director at the National Treasury, Isaac Awuondo, Managing Director of Commercial Bank of Africa, and Rose Ngugi, an adviser at the International Monetary Fund make up the broader list of nominees. President Uhuru Kenyatta will announce the latter’s successor once approval has been sought by Parliament.
Kenya plans to create an enabling regulatory framework to boost Sharia financing in the country. The country's Capital Market Authority is holding a workshop in Nairobi. Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling, is currently offered by two full-fledged Islamic lenders in Kenya - Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank.
Kenya will issue its debut sukuk in the next financial year, not this one as some had expected, after it opted to borrow an additional $750 million from its maiden $2 billion Eurobond issued in June. Parliament is set to consider a recommendation by its finance committee to double the government’s external debt ceiling to $28 billion to fund the construction of a newrailway, port, roads and power plants. Henry Rotich, the cabinet secretary for the Treasury, said the re-opening of the Eurobond, which is expected to be completed on Wednesday, had given the government time to prepare the documentation for the sukuk issue. He said it would be issued in the finiancial year in the financial year ending June 2016.
Investment firm Kurwitu Ventures Limited has become the first Sharia-compliant firm to list at the Growth Enterprise Market Segment of the Nairobi Securities Exchange. The company has listed 102,272 shares by introduction at the GEMs making it the third company in Kenya to list on this segment. The others are real estate firm HomeAfriKa and Flame Tree Group, a cosmetics and water tanks manufacturing outfit. Kurwitu provides investment products and services that are based on Islamic laws on finances.
Leaders of global and regional institutions pledge political support and major new financial assistance for countries in the region, totaling more than $8 billion over the coming years. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the World Bank Group (WBG) President, Jim Yong Kim, as well as the President of the Islamic Development Bank Group and high level representatives of the African Union Commission, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) are combining forces to promote stability and development in the Horn of Africa. The initiative covers the eight countries in the Horn of Africa -- Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.
The fast growing Islamic insurance package, Takaful, is not exclusively meant for Muslims, as it has been designed to cater for the needs of non-Muslims as well. This clarification was made by the founder of Takaful Insurance of Africa, Mr Hassan Bashir, who disclosed that the Kenya-based company’s products could bring fruitful possibilities to the doorsteps of non-Muslims as well as, not just for people of the Muslim faith. Bashir made this known at a recent chat with the media where he also revealed that non-Muslims currently constituted about 15 per cent of the company’s customer base, adding that the figure was expected to increase as time passed.
Hassan Bashir, Founder of Takaful Insurance of Africa, says the Kenya-based company's products can bring possibilities to many and are not exclusively for people of the Muslim faith. Takaful Insurance of Africa started in Kenya, but opened an office in Somalia 6 months ago, as well as expressed interest in Uganda, Djibouti and Tanzania. Hassan Bashir believes that Islamic finance can bring possibilities to many people by helping them get employment and access to finance. With the company's index-based livestock takaful, pastoralists are continuously educated so that they understand that the cover is in line with their religious sensitivities and this is to sustain their livelihoods despite droughts. In the long run, this will solve the negative perceptions about Islamic finance.
A delegation of the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) visited Kenya last week to enhance bilateral business relations between the two countries and open up new areas of investment. The delegation was headed by Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdulla al-Thani, second deputy to QBA chairman and Ezdan Holding chairman. The delegation included Ezdan Holding CEO Ali Mohamed al-Obaidly and Vodafone Qatar CEO Kyle Whitehill among other businessmen and QBA members. The delegation was received by Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohamed, who brought them together with senior officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and members of Kenya’s business community. Sheikh Dr Khalid said Kenya has become a promising and attractive business environment.